Afridi could be the poster boy for Pak unity

I cannot recall having had a better weekend in recent years than this Sunday. Tele-watching Pakistan in the T-20 finals wasn’t just a sporting delight. It was a spectacle the terror-smashed country so richly deserved to realize that it could stand as one in a battlefield.

Torn asunder by the Taliban in the North West, the Pakistanis couldn’t have asked for more. The victory was doubly sweet for the team was led from upfront by iconic all-rounder Shahid Afridi. It sent home the message that not all Pathans were Taliban. More so when one-time cricketing God Imran Khan is, in his current political role, perceived as soft on the violent Taliban movement conducted in the name of Allah.

It was the Taliban sponsored violence against cricket that had rendered Younis Khan’s boys the game’s pariahs. Their victory lap at Lord’s is an image that’ll bolster not just the beleaguered nation’s resolve to stay united but offer to its youth influenced by Taliban the hope of a life beyond gun-barrels. President Asif Zardari’s spin-doctors must let them know that young achievers like Afridi and the 17-year-old Mohammed Aamer were the poster-boys of Pakistan. Not the likes of those led astray by Baitullah Mahsud.

It was only expected the T-20 championship lit up skies over many Pakistani cities. The bonus really was the play in the Indian media that savored the victory as one of its own team. There is no dearth in the divided sub-continent of people who care for fair appreciation.

Peace activists must prepare a compendium of match reports in the Indian press and have them distributed across Pakistan. We enjoy defeating each other. But on occasions like the one in London this Sunday, our sub-continental pride makes us think as one people. India won the trophy the first time. Pakistan has it now.

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